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June 26, 2012
by Josef Koudelka
In the 1975 edition, Robert Delpire said about this special project that impacted the twentieth century history of photography: ‘In the very stillness of the characters Josef questions and who question him, there is a kind of tension, a quivering, the muffled murmuring of flowing blood suddenly contained. It is not so much the temporary nature of immobility, the suspended time peculiar to the snapshot, as the feeling that this precarious immutability is only a surface phenomenon. Beneath each of these weather-beaten and hairless complexions silently glides the ice of all fears. Rooted like dried trees inside these bare, white walls, men mark out lines, indicate the masses of a statistically geometric order. Prisoners of the attention that they bring to bear, without naivety, on the photographic event, they are both witnesses and actors of their own presence. Whether they keep watch over the victim of a murder, show their pathetic treasur es or flaunt themselves in front of Josef in the ironic ostentation of an accepted impoverishment, they give to the image its weight of classicism and tradition.’

Les Rencontres d'Arles
Eglise Sainte Anne Place de la République
Arles 13200
France

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